Condom packets designed by artists in a safe sex project in Australia has cost taxpayers 50,000 dollars and been abandoned.
The project, known as the Free Condom Project - The Art of Being Smart, will distribute 75,000 condoms in stand-out designed packets for free in selected shops. Ratepayers Victoria president Jack Davis said the use of public monies for such a project was "ridiculous".
"It's a joke ... I consider this an absolute waste of taxpayers' money, which can be better used by helping the needy," the Daily Telegraph quoted Davis as saying.
Fitzroy retailer Abigail Crompton, who came up with the idea, said she hoped the "eclectic" packaging would make people think condoms were "cool", and start using them more to protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Crompton said the 50,000 dollar cost of the project included the design of the packets, the website, marketing, research development and the condoms.
Family Planning Victoria and the Victorian AIDS Council, which are state and federally funded, backed the project to boost awareness of the importance of using condoms, to curb the growing rates of STIs.
Victorian AIDS Council executive director Mike Kennedy defended the use of public money, explaining that it was "a very cheap and effective way" of getting the message of condom use across to Victorians.